Of the many observations I have made while in Peru, the most startling is Peruvian’s willingness to stand in line for hours. It is a part of life here in Peru that exceeds my experience in the USA. I have an aversion to standing in line for anything. It goes back to my days in the Navy, but that’s another story. It’s not uncommon to see a line of people here stretching for blocks simply to pay a bill, make a deposit in the bank, or conduct business with any number of governmental agencies. It doesn’t seem to matter what day of the week and the lines will snake along the street until the building closes for the day. I often wonder how these people get off work to conduct business.
I believe this necessity is caused by the fact that Peru doesn’t really have a working postal system. They have one, SerPost, but there is no guarantee that your package or letter will arrive. Living in Peru has given me a true appreciation of the US Postal Service. The other contributing factor is most likely the fact that banks in Peru do not offer checking accounts. So, unlike the US, you can’t write a check and put it in the mail here. They do have internet banking but there is a small charge for transactions to pay bills with companies not affiliated with your bank. It makes for one more interesting aspect of life in a foreign country. The good thing for me, they always have a “Senior Citizens” line with very few people in it. Vanity I guess.
Taking walks through my neighborhood always gives me a glimpse into life in San Borja, the district in Lima where I live. Over the years that I’ve been here, the people I pass most days as I go about the business of live have gotten used to me. No one stares at the tall gringo as he goes to the market, does his banking or wanders the streets camera in hand. Most, actually say,”Buenos dias, ktal, ¿como estas?” when I pass by. Some of the neighbors actually wave from their apartment windows leave to run errands. It might just be me but I’m noticing a growing sense of community, something that was definitely missing when I first came to Lima.
I’ve managed to exceed all my writing goals for the past week. The progress I have made and the beautiful fall weather we have been experiencing here in Lima has lifted my spirits and given me the encouragement I need to finish my second novel. A short article on the Flowers of Lima and photo essay by me were published in Peru this Week. Click on the link to read it. Once again, here’s the link to purchase my book Sacrifice: The Price Charming Murders. Writing is work that involves a lot of self-discipline. There’s no one here to put me at the keyboard and tell me to get to work. I’ve always enjoyed keeping journals and writing about my travels but fiction is even more enjoyable. I still have my lazy days but the will power to continue is stronger.
Mother’s Day was an enjoyable event for me here in Peru. We took Steve’s Mom, Jaita, and family to Cineguilla for lunch. The day was perfect, sunny, not too chilly and the traffic light for the day. We ate at a place that served Pollos Brasos family style in a picnic area. Afterwards, a drive through the country to look for land or homes for sale delighted the whole group. I got to see areas of Cineguilla that I have never been to before. Everyone seemed to have a good time and it helped ease thought of the loss of my parents.
Last Friday I met with Larry again at Bodega Verde. It seems out conversations of late have concentrated on our writing. Naturally we discussed other things going on, the gym, Mother’s Day plans, the economy and his step daughter’s progress in going back to work at the US Embassy just to mention a few. The coffee was good as always but the company is the best. Later, I joined Kathy at C.A.M. (the Contemporary Art Museum in Barranco) to check out the new exhibit. It was a fantastic exhibit. Three building were dedicated to different shows. The first featured a photographer, Scarlett Hooft Graafand, and works she did in Bolivia. What a creative mind this woman has. In the next room, a contemporary video presentation elicited a wide range of emotions. Scenes of wars, cattle slaughter, food rationing and more left a lasting impression on me. In the final room, works by artists from the 20s thru the 80s were on display. At least 50% of them were Peruvian artists. Sculptures by Pool Guillén and Armando Varela and paintings by Fenando Szyslo, Judith Wephalen, Armand Villegas and Victor Pasmore along with others displayed the wide range of talent throughout Latin America. I am eagerly looking forward to the next show at the museum.
Another entry completed. Visiting the museum has made me want to take up the brush again. I even have a first project in mind. Have a great week everyone. Hope you are enjoying life as much as I am. Get out and look for the beauty that surrounds you. Exercise you body and your mind, be and enjoy, make art!